At Electric Road we are fascinated by those companies spearheading the electrification of the UK and we must admit, we love what GRIDSERVE is doing. For those who feel confused as to how the future will look, a mere glimpse at their Braintree forecourt will answer a lot of questions whizzing around in people’s heads.
Earlier this year, GRIDSERVE and Ecotricity announced a new collaboration to rapidly develop The Electric Highway, Europe’s first nationwide charging network, which will transform EV charging facilities on Britain’s motorways and major roads.
The Electric Highway was launched in 2011 to enable early electric cars to drive the length and breadth of Britain, back when charging was by three-pin-plug and 7kW was considered fast. Since then, charging standards have leapt to 50kW, then 150kW and the new state-of-the-art 350kW, while the range of new electric cars has leapt from 80 to 300 miles or more. This technical progress along with rapid price convergence of new electric cars with their fossil counterparts, has led to more than 200,000 electric cars on UK roads today and over 10% of all new car sales being electric.
The transformation work has two elements which are already underway. Firstly, all existing chargers will be replaced with new technology, doubling the capacity, offering all three connection types (CCS, CHAdeMO, and AC) and contactless payment. Secondly, a further 6 to 12 pumps of the all-new 350kW high power standard will be installed. Funding for the program is being provided by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, also a shareholder in GRIDSERVE.
GRIDSERVE has taken a 25% stake in the Electric Highway and will also bring their front and back-office technology and expertise to the upgraded network, which will also have 24/7 support.
Dale Vince, Founder, Ecotricity, said: “I’m a fan of GRIDSERVE’s Electric Forecourt concept, their vision and passion in this space. To be able to work together to make sure the Electric Highway continues to lead the electric car revolution in Britain is an exciting prospect. The Electric Highway kickstarted Britain’s electric car revolution one decade ago this summer and together with GRIDSERVE we have big plans for the second decade and the end of fossil powered cars.”
Toddington Harper, CEO, GRIDSERVE, commented: “I’ve been driving an electric vehicle for 8 years and the Electric Highway was the network that originally made that possible. It’s therefore a huge privilege for myself and GRIDSERVE to take a role alongside Ecotricity in the next evolution of the Electric Highway.
“GRIDSERVE’s purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change and the upgraded network will provide the confidence people need to immediately make the transition to a net zero, electric vehicle future. The new network will feature all of GRIDSERVE’s world-leading technology to ensure that electric vehicle charging is straightforward, anxiety free and delivers an awesome customer experience”.
Robert Gordon, CEO, Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, added: “This is an exciting collaboration to take the electric vehicle drivers’ motorway experience to the next level.”
At the end of April, The Electric Highway opened the UK’s largest high power motorway charging site, a development it promises will become ubiquitous as it transforms its network of facilities on the country’s motorways and major roads.
The installation is the first under the Electric Highway’s new partnership with GRIDSERVE, which saw the company take a 25% stake in the Highway, as well as bringing its acclaimed technology and expertise to the network.
The Electric Highway’s flagship motorway installation is open now at MOTO’s brand-new Rugby services at Junction 1 of the M6. The new facility includes 12 state-of-of-the-art high-powered pumps from Tritium, able to charge supported vehicles at 350kW, adding around 100m of range in less than five minutes. All pumps are contactless too.
As part of the major Electric Highway transformation programme funded by GRIDSERVE investor Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, all existing 50kW pumps will be replaced this summer while in parallel, work has begun on high power installations across its entire network.
Toddington Harper, CEO of GRIDSERVE, said:
“GRIDSERVE’s purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change, and the rollout of high-power chargers across Britain’s motorways in partnership with Moto will do just that, providing drivers with the confidence to go electric today.
“To see what the future of electric vehicle charging on the UK motorway network looks like, you can now visit Moto’s new Motorway Service Area at Rugby. After announcing our Electric Highway partnership with Ecotricity in March and supported by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, we’ve been hard at work putting in the charging infrastructure needed to give people the confidence to make the transition to electric vehicles, by delivering 6-12 high power 350kW chargers across the network as quickly as possible, as well as replacing all the existing chargers with the latest technology.”
Dale Vince, Founder, The Electric Highway, added: “We began building the Electric Highway ten years ago and Moto were one of our founding partners. Back then, state-of-the-art charging was just 7kW and here we are today at 350kW in just a decade. This is our very first high-power installation, and this new technology comes just at a tipping point in the adoption of electric vehicles.
“This marks the beginning of our new partnership with GRIDSERVE, and kickstarts a comprehensive programme where these installations will become ubiquitous on the motorway network, helping to make the experience of using an electric car no different to using a fossil-powered one.”
Ecotricity Founded in 1995 from a single windmill by Dr Dale Vince OBE, Ecotricity was the world’s first green energy company. Today, it now powers over 200,000 homes and businesses across Great Britain with 100% renewable electricity from the wind, the sun and carbon neutralised gas.
Ecotricity also operates the Electric Highway, Europe’s first nationwide electric vehicle charging network which helped kickstart the EV revolution.
GRIDSERVE’s purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change.
GRIDSERVE are transforming the experience of using electric vehicles, by delivering a UK-wide, sustainable energy powered network of convenient, customer-focussed Electric Forecourts® and Electric Hubs that allow the fastest possible charging of electric vehicles and deliver an awesome customer experience. GRIDSERVE’s team have been responsible for the development, construction and operation of more than a gigawatt of sustainable energy projects including connecting over 100 utility-scale solar energy and battery projects to the UK grid. GRIDSERVE is interested in exploring new electric vehicle charging and sustainable energy opportunities, including new locations for Electric Forecourts®, Electric Hubs, hybrid solar farms, and remote power solutions in both the UK and abroad.